After winning the state championship in 2015, the wrestling team needs to stay focused and continue working hard to repeat their success this season, according to head coach Doug Fisher.
“It is easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking previous results are guaranteed by just showing up the next year,” Fisher said. “Their attitude and effort will be the deciding factor.”
On Dec. 5, the team competed at the Skyline Elite tournament with last year’s 6A, 4A, 3A, and VISSA championship teams all in attendance. The Falcons placed fifth out of 12 teams. In the same tournament last year, they placed third overall.
“The tournament went all right,” sophomore Franco Camarca said. “We just didn’t do as well as last year.”
Emerging leaders on the team include seniors Garrett Tingen and Caleb Strum and sophomore Kyle Budd, according to Fisher. Budd, who finished second in the state last year, plans on leading the team into a strong post-season performance by pushing himself and his teammates to work harder.
“As a returning starter, it is my responsibility to set a good example for my teammates by being at every practice, working hard and pushing myself to better my skills and techniques, and listening to our coaches,” Budd said. “Wrestling is a team sport driven by individual performances, so it is my responsibility to preform my best to put our team in the best position to win.”
The team is a mix of experienced and new athletes. The team lost half their starting wrestlers from last year, including Matt Raines, Trevor Marable and Daniel Ariola, who all went on to wrestle in college. Athletes competing for a starting spot are Strum, sophomores Camarca, Joe DelGallo, and A.J. Prudhum, along with freshmen Ethan Jordon and Kevin McEachin, according to Fisher.
“I want to make it to states and win states,” Camarca said. “I need to practice harder and get better.”
Junior Jackson McEachin will be out for five to seven months recovering from an ankle injury last spring. McEachin was set to wrestle in the 195 weight class this year.
Fisher’s main goal is to develop wrestlers who will be ready to compete at the highest levels in college.
“My goal is simple,” Fisher said. “Prepare FHS wrestlers to be able compete at the national level and be prepared to wrestle in NCAA Division I programs when they graduate, if they so choose, to continue their wrestling careers. With this focus, successful local and state level results will take care of themselves.”
The team needs to work on and be more disciplined in their stance and attack positions, but experience will be their strength, according to Fisher
“We have a lot of guys on the team that have been wrestling for many years, and if they have the right attitude, we should have a successful season.”
According to Fisher wrestling is “90 percent mental,” so handling adversity, distractions, and negative thoughts is a main objective.
“The guys need to get hungry again, if they are not already,” Fisher said. “And do the work that is required to have another shot at a title.”
~alex wright, sports director